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          Calling It Quits: Are You Ready for Divorce?

          August 29, 2002

          Are you ready to get divorced? If you’re unhappy and think you’re ready to call it quits, answer the following five questions:

          Dr. Phil’s Divorce Readiness Test:

          1. Have you done everything you can to save and rehabilitate your marriage?
          2. Do you have unfinished emotional business?
          3. Have you researched, planned, and prepared yourself legally for divorce?
          4. Are you ready to adopt a new standard of conduct with your children?
          5. Are you willing to create a new relationship as a co-parent?

          Dr. Phil believes most people in America are too quick to get divorced. You shouldn’t get a divorce, he says, until you’ve turned over every stone and investigated every avenue of rehabilitation possible; you have no unfinished emotional business; you’ve researched, planned and prepared yourself legally; you’re ready to adopt a new standard of conduct with your children and you’re willing to create a new relationship as a co-parent.

          For more on his first two questions, read on:

          Have you gotten help for your marriage? Have you exhausted all avenues of putting your marriage back together? That means everything from reading books or going to a marriage counselor, to speaking to a clergy member and spending time focusing on you and your role in what's going on.

          You need to ask yourself:

          • What was your marriage like when it worked?
          • When did it go wrong? Why?
          • Is what you're fighting about worth breaking up your marriage?
          • What do you want?
          • What is it costing you to be in your relationship?
          • Are you willing to put in the effort to make the relationship work?
          • What are you doing to contaminate the relationship?  

          "You know you're ready for a divorce when you can walk out the door with no anger, frustration or hurt. Otherwise, you've got unfinished business," says Dr. Phil. "Unless and until you look each other in the eye feeling peace, no hatred or resentment, you're not ready to get a divorce."

          Do not make life-changing decisions in the midst of emotional turmoil. Such consequential decisions should not be made when tensions are high. Get on flat ground first so you can look at things more rationally.

          Ask yourself:

          • Are you still in love with your spouse?
          • Are you hurt?
          • Are you scared?
          • Are you angry?
          • Are you confused?

          If you answered yes to any of those questions, you've failed the test. This is not the time to make life-changing decisions. You have more work to do.

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